Lincoln : the biography of a writer / Fred Kaplan.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      1st ed.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: An analysis of the literary life of the sixteenth president explores the ways in which his views were shaped by classic literature and how he used language as a vehicle for complex ideas and an instrument of change in both political and personal arenas.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references.
    • ISBN:
      9780060773342 : HRD
      0060773340 : HRD
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      KAPLAN, F. Lincoln : the biography of a writer. 1st ed. [s. l.]: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. ISBN 9780060773342. Disponível em: Acesso em: 28 maio. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Kaplan F. Lincoln : The Biography of a Writer. 1st ed. HarperCollins Publishers; 2008. Accessed May 28, 2020.
    • APA:
      Kaplan, F. (2008). Lincoln : the biography of a writer (1st ed.). HarperCollins Publishers.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Kaplan, Fred. 2008. Lincoln : The Biography of a Writer. 1st ed. HarperCollins Publishers.
    • Harvard:
      Kaplan, F. (2008) Lincoln : the biography of a writer. 1st ed. HarperCollins Publishers. Available at: (Accessed: 28 May 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Kaplan, F 2008, Lincoln : the biography of a writer, 1st ed., HarperCollins Publishers, viewed 28 May 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Kaplan, Fred. Lincoln : The Biography of a Writer. 1st ed., HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Kaplan, Fred. Lincoln : The Biography of a Writer. 1st ed. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Kaplan F. Lincoln : the biography of a writer [Internet]. 1st ed. HarperCollins Publishers; 2008 [cited 2020 May 28]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2008 June #1

Has Lincoln been done to death? Not hardly. Distinguished biographer Kaplan takes a new, solid, meaningful, even moving approach to the sixteenth president. Considerable previous attention has been paid to Lincoln's articulateness in both oral and written word. The question is always, then, how did this woefully undereducated man become so good with words? It is Kaplan's and his reader's pleasure to follow an extensive chronological survey of the books and other writings Lincoln studied, from his boyhood (he "was born into a national culture in which language was the most widely available key to individual growth and achievement. . . . It was the tool by which he explored and defined himself") to the presidential years ("lifelong development as a writer had brought the country a president with the capacity to express himself and the national concerns more effectively that any president ever had, with the exception of Thomas Jefferson"). Consequently, we witness the admirable growth—flowering—of an amazingly accomplished autodidact. This book is not an introduction to Lincoln's life, to be sure; it is for readers who know the essentials. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2008 September #1

Kaplan (Distinguished Professor Emeritus, English, Queens Coll. & Graduate Ctr., CUNY; Henry James ) argues that Lincoln's devotion to the integrity of language gave him a rare credibility as lawyer, legislator, public figure, and President and that Lincoln worked assiduously to master writing as a means of thought as well as expression. To track Lincoln's trajectory as a writer, Kaplan scours what Lincoln read and wrote to discover the roots of his ideas and style variously in scripture, Shakespeare, Byron, other English poets, Burns, historians, satirists, Aesop's fables, American folktales, speeches, etc. Lincoln came to prize clear, common speech as vital to conveying moral vision and democratic principles. His genius for the telling detail and for storytelling itself ensured that his listeners and readers would take hold of his argument. His purpose, says Kaplan, was to persuade rather than to stir emotion. In light of today's political subversion of language, Kaplan's work points the way to our own resetting of the democratic compass thus to direct our path as a free people. For all libraries that serve the public interest.—RMM

[Page 136]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

LJ Reviews 2015 January #1

Kaplan examines Lincoln's writings to consider how the politician drew on his gifts as a storyteller—along with his mastery of American vernacular and his extensive knowledge of the Bible, Shakespeare, and other popular sources—to exercise rhetorical power almost unmatched in his day and beyond. (LJ 9/1/08)

[Page 47]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PW Reviews 2008 July #4

In this intriguing biography, English professor and literary biographer Kaplan (The Singular Mark Twain ) analyzes Abraham Lincoln's writings, from the great civic anthems of his presidency to love letters, legal briefs, poems and notebook jottings, and finds a first-rate literary talent—a master storyteller with an earthy wit, sharp logic and an ear for poetic phrasing. From wide reading, Kaplan contends, Lincoln gleaned influences—an Aesopian moralism, a biblical sense of providence, a Byronic melancholy, a Shakespearean understanding of human complexity—that shaped his approach to issues and, through his words, the nation's attitude toward slavery and war. Kaplan sometimes overdoes his critical exegeses of Lincoln's more forgettable efforts ("[Lincoln's] comic depiction of what happens when two people of the same sex are bedded has a heterodox clarity that reveals his familiarity with bodily realities") but many of these readings, like his recasting as free verse a speech on agricultural improvements, are eye-opening. The result is a fresh, revealing study of both Lincoln's language and character. (Nov. 3)

[Page 62]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.